It is hard to believe that we are starting the month of August. It is also hard to believe all that we have been through in 2020 and the last few months. Personally, I feel I am in a time of transition that keeps expanding with no specific ending point. It is in times of ongoing transition that we need to keep nurturing our faith, so that we do not get distracted from the things that matter – from the things God wants for us.
Belief is an ongoing theme in the Gospel reading from the lectionary the last two weeks as well as for this Sunday. The crowd described in John witness the mysterious and powerful ways of Jesus, but still do not fully believe in Jesus. The crowd is not listening to Jesus as he reveals himself as the bread that brings life to the world, and as he asks them to believe in him, and not focus on specific and tangible signs and works. This Sunday, John shows Jesus insisting to reveal himself to the crowd, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Interestingly, they keep not listening, and now they are even complaining about Jesus’ sayings. Jesus’ response: “Do not complain among yourselves…” just believe that I am the bread of life. I think we are not so different from that crowd. I think there are many ways in which we have experienced God’s grace and accompaniment during 2020 and the last few months, but we often, just like the crowd then, we keep complaining among ourselves. Are we letting the bread of life nurture our faith and our belief system or are we letting the complaints, the tension in our society to nurture our faith and belief system?
Belief is an ongoing theme in our society. Daniel Shultz, a pastor in Wisconsin says this in relation to North American culture:
“In contemporary [North] American culture, belief is everything. Our beliefs, as expressed in the political philosophies with which we agree, define everything from where we live to who our friends are to which diseases we acknowledge as real… too many of the modern crowd have come to rely on signs of misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories.”
In times of ongoing transition, like the times we are still experiencing, we need to believe in the bread that brings life to the world. Even more, as the Church of Christ in ministry to the whole world, we need to be the Body of Christ, we need to be the bread of life for the world.
Almighty God, be our bread of life, so that we may be the bread of life to the hungry. Be our bread of life, so that we can be streams of your abundant and living water that quenches the thirst of our world. Be our bread of life, so that we may be instruments of new life here on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
If you would like to view past editions of Time with Ismael, follow this link: https://heritagedistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/